Thursday, April 03, 2008

A Couple of Victorian Prints

Some people are just too sophisticated to go in shops like Oxfam and Cancer Research. It’s just as well then that Michelle’s not as snotty nosed as they are, otherwise she wouldn’t have stumbled across two antique prints at the Trinity Hospice shop in Bispham a few weeks ago. Admittedly, when she first brought them home, they looked as though they’d gone twelve rounds with a sheep suffering from a stomach upset. But after some T.L.C. (involving a putty rubber, a scalpel, and a slightly damp flannel) they polished up a treat.
And, on closer inspection, it turned out that not only were they both the genuine article (almost 200 years old) but they were also hand-tinted with a degree of craftsmanship rarely witnessed in such enterprises.
Here’s the first one, showing the seafront at Blackpool circa 1830 to 1840. (I’m not going to bother telling you to click on the thumbnail for the larger version, because I must have explained how to do it a hundred times before on this board, and if you can’t be bothered paying attention then it’s not my fault).Good, isn’t it? The building right on the edge of the cliffs (or to put it another way, on the far left of the picture) if memory serves was known as Forshaws. (Not that I was around in the 1840s to remember it being there…I just mean ‘if memory serves from what I’ve read’.) Nowadays, in case you haven’t got your bearings yet, it’s the Metropole.
It’s also intriguing to see how many people are ‘partaking of the waters’ in the illustration. Nowadays, of course, you’d be taking your health into your own hands if you did the same thing. The chances are you wouldn’t be able to break the crust anyway.
Here’s the other one, instantly recognisable as the Mount in Fleetwood, of course, looking towards Rossall Point.

That’s the original Mount pavilion; the one designed by Decimus Burton. It was replaced just over a century ago by a building that resembles a cross between Bella Emberg and a Dalek. The flagpole’s still the same though (even if they did chop the top off last year for reasons best left to the flagpole decapitation experts).
We have another copy of this print. We bought it off Bill Curtis when she still alive and, because presumably she was responsible for the colouring-in (which is considerably different in our ‘new’ version) she owned the copyright on it. So we could never reproduce it anywhere, which seemed a pity.
Well she doesn’t own the copyright on this particular version, and we’re not in it for the money, so feel free to download either of these mini-masterpieces for whatever personal purposes you feel fit.
In the distance you can see the landmark. This structure was rebuilt several times over the centuries, as an aid to navigation for the ships. Nowadays it’s just a ring of stumps on the beach.
It’s also interesting to note the absence of the Edwardian seafront gardens, today skirted on the inland side by the revetment..ed…remains of the cliffs shown in the etching.

Anyhow, we’re pretty chuffed about spotting these two local antique oddities. Not bad for £1.50, eh? I reckon we’ll be shopping at the Trinity Hospice shop again at some point in the near future.


John said...

What excellent finds, especially considering your interests in local history. And they're quite nice to look at, as well.

It's doubtful that you'll see their like again, but you never know what you'll find in some places. Next time you might find an ancient bronze helmet, or one of those archeological treasures that you keep mentioning are no longer anywhere to be found.

Hopefully you won't find those missing decapitated heads you mention in your book, but some of those other lost treasures may be found in some attic somewhere, and make their way to the shops. :0)

Congrats on your ability to recognize these artworks for what they are!

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...


Michelle knows what she's looking at...even when they are caked in three inches of mud. That's what comes of grubbing about in soil and cow pats all these years.

John said...

And here I wasted all that time in art college.

I could have spent those 4 days in a field somewhere, instead!

JOHN :0)

Lord Sedgwick said...

Knocks into a cocked titfer our purchases (1), (2) and (3) last weekend at the Eaglehawk League of Gentlewomen's Op Shop, staffed by wee old lasses wot looked like the issue of Marty Feldman's any port in a storm bonk fest in Deliverance country.

Brian Hughes said...


That almost matches my own two hours and six minutes at art college, which might have lasted longer if it hadn't been for the epiphany I experienced during morning coffee break.

Terence me owd mucker,

It's good to see what the fashionable Oz is wearing this season, so that the rest of the civilised world can avoid it. I was particularly impressed by the bloke with the double barrelled shot gun who, presumably, had also recently acquired a full length mirror and had decided to take matters into his own hands.

Lord Sedgwick said...

Yep ... and it would be remiss of me not to suggest that hunky son of a gun's next line was "Is that a gun in my hairy palm or is the mirror just pleased to see me?"

Knit one.

Pearl one.

Knit two together.

Game, set and poncho.

Feral Beast said...

There so nice I'd like to go there and steal them.

Jayne said...

(ignoring my offspring's promise of thievery) Those are great finds, well done to Michelle!
I'm always loitering about 2nd hand shops finding treasures...and, yes, The Tribe are usually trying to donate me in the bargain bin :P

Brian Hughes said...


Next time your offspring are attempting to deposit you in the bargain bin, ensure that Sedgwick and his maroon and yellow tanktop is put in first, thus blocking your downward transit.

Mr. Beast,

You don't have to steal 'em. Just click on the thumbnails, save the bigger versions to the hard drive and then print 'em off. We're nothing if not extremely thoughtful here at the Antiquarian...which, as Sedgwick would say, means we're nothing.

The Actor said...

Hey Brian !

That's the fourth version of the Mount etching that I've seen, two of others being on the Rossall Beach site, these are coloured and the final one, a monochrome version, is on my hard drive. I would imagine the one that I have a copy of is the original one as the others are obviously hand tinted. Or Photoshopped maybe.

I can't remember where I got it from, though.

Brian Hughes said...


One of the coloured ones at Rossall Beach'll be the same as this, because I sent it to Phil.

The monochrome versions will, I've no doubt, be the originals. I have a suspicion that they were once all plates in some book or other, although exactly what the book was I've no idea.

Presumably at some point a colour version of the book was released. It must have been an expensive job, 'cos I've never seen such good hand-tinting work before. I had to examine it under a magnifying glass before I could be certain that it wasn't just a reproduction. (I know it's an original because, at some point in its history, somebody had stuck a tag on the back reading: "Guaranteed to be at least 200 years old.")

I think there's a big version of the drawing on the stairs at Fleetwood Library...although that one's obviously been reproduced...and not particularly brilliantly at that.

Good though, aren't they? They look well on my living room wall, I know that much.

The Actor said...

Yeah, they are good.

What size is yours ? Ooo err, missus. ?

Jayne said...

OT query Brian -
what's your opinion of archaeology courses offered at College On The Net ?

Brian Hughes said...


I haven't actually measured them but I'm guessing at about 12 inches by 8 inches. (Now then Missus, titter ye not.) To put it another way, large book size.


Er...I honestly couldn't say. I suppose that depends on how good they are and whether or not they're genuine. (I'm always a bit suspicious of anything for sale on the net, although I probably shouldn't be. And with the exception of our books, of course.)

Andrew said...

Stunning picture. What a find.

Brian Hughes said...


They cover up a nasty stain on the wall where the cat flattened a large fly last summer.

Ozfemme said...

nice pictures. seriously disturbed the thought of sedgewick in a man poncho. Any man for that matter.

Going to have to have a lie down now.

Brian Hughes said...

It'd be like Clint Eastwood crossed with Rolf Harris. 'Scuse me...I'm off to be sick.

dysthymiac said...

... and when you queue for Antiques Roadshow you might feign shock when the dithering ponce tells you they're worth 500 quid each ?
Well-spotted Michelle!